There's a Scientific Reason Southerners Make the Best Biscuits
Ever tried a biscuit outside of the South? Yeah, there's a good reason your face sometimes puckers up into a grimace.
Try as they may, nobody whips up a batch of fresh biscuits like Southerners do. It's not just in our heads though — or our finesse with a rolling pin, or grandma's generation-old recipe — hard facts come into play here, too.
As explained in a recent article in The Atlantic, in order to bake a delicious biscuit, "you want a flour made from a soft wheat. It has less gluten protein and the gluten is weaker, which allows the chemical leavening—the baking powder—to generate carbon dioxide and make it rise up in the oven," Robert Dixon Phillips, a retired professor of food science at the University of Georgia, tells the story's author, Amanda Mull. Since most of the U.S. sells flours that come from hard wheat, biscuits taste different throughout the country. As Mull puts it, "Northern biscuits suck because they are made with bread flour."
WATCH: The Southern History Of Biscuits
A deeper dive into the topic of what makes Southern biscuits so special inevitably brings the company White Lily to the forefront. You probably can picture the packaging down to its namesake flower striking through the logo, but outside of the South it's a different story — and it is one of our secret weapons. "White Lily was founded in Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1883, and although other contemporary brands now make serviceable biscuit flour, it still dominates grocery baking aisles across the Southeast," writes Mull. Despite being bought in 2007 by national powerhouse J.M. Smucker, distribution still remains limited, with the largest concentration of vendors in the South (worth noting: you can order the flour on Amazon, but it'll cost you a pretty penny)
As Mull quips, "Displaced southern bakers have been known to stuff a bag in their suitcases when visiting home." We'd be lying if we said we didn't smuggle a package or two when our travels call for it. Now, if only science could prove that our dough-folding techniques are superior, too.